Sea Blue Lens


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Change of Scene

I’m a bit late to the {In the Picture} linkup this month, but I think I can claim extenuating circumstances. I flew from Maine to California last Thursday, with all my worldly goods to follow by moving van a couple of weeks later. I did carry my camera with me, but my tripod is still in transit on said moving van.

After I got here, it took a few days to get an Internet connection squared away. But that’s done now, and here I am. I was determined not to miss the party altogether. Better late than never, right?

On the Boardwalk

I took this image on my last Maine photoshoot, when I visited the Saco Heath. I tried several of these but this was the only one I liked at all. I was glad I tried it, though, because it was from this position that I noticed the tree I called “Dancer” in my last post.

Surveying My New Domain

Now, on the other side of the continent: standing at the edge of the driveway, looking down over the landscape below. I wanted a higher viewpoint, but the only place I could find to put my camera was on a low fence, only a couple of feet off the ground. I’ll be glad to have my tripod in my hands again!

The World at My Feet

The next two aren’t portraits at all, just a couple of photos from my first morning at my new home. I woke in the early-morning dark and got up before the sun.

New Dawn

As soon as the sun rises, the breeze does, too. Until then, the air was perfectly still.

Soft Morning Light

This view is looking southwest across the yard. The early sun touches the distant mountains first, and everything glows with reflected light. It’s hard to express the feeling of peace it brings. It’s a good place to be.

Thanks to Christy at Urban Muser for hosting {In the Picture}. It’s a great project, challenging but fun.


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Not a Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On

Our optional April theme for {In the Picture}, the self-portrait project I’m participating in, was “Shake It Out.” Last weekend I took my camera and tripod and headed down to a spot by the river that I knew was likely to be deserted. I experimented with taking photos of myself whirling and twirling and jumping around, though it felt pretty silly. Most of the photos ended up looking pretty silly, too, in my opinion, at least.

Trying for Takeoff

In spite of that, I enjoyed moving and stretching and just basking in the beautiful, warm sunlight. And I did “shake it out” to the extent that I got some nice relaxed selfies at the end of the shoot that I like a lot. Here are a couple:

Perfect Accessory

Life is Good

Though I still feel self-conscious about it, I’m beginning to feel more comfortable in front of my own camera. I realized as I went through these images that the main reason I didn’t care for the “prancing and dancing” ones is that they really do not express who I am. They might picture my physical self, but they do not portray me — my real, inner self. That’s what I want my self-portraits to do.

Windblown

Linking up with Christy at Urban Muser for April’s {In the Picture} linky party.


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Barely There

March seems to have flown by! I knew I hadn’t done much about my self-portrait project this month, but I didn’t realize just how badly I’d let it slip. Now it’s time for the March {in the picture} link-up over at Urban Muser, and I was hard-pressed to find any images at all. More like remnants of myself than the real deal.

This month’s optional theme is “black & white.” I have admired the B&W photos I’ve seen posted to our Flickr group and linked up by others this month. I wasn’t quite so sure about my own. Maybe it’s an acquired taste? Or something I just have to get used to? As I was processing the photos for this post, I found that the strictly black & white images looked uncomfortably cold to my eye. I warmed some up a bit and liked that effect, but I thought perhaps that was “cheating,” so I ended up with some of each.

The thing is, though, I’m starting to get excited about this project. I’m still self conscious about taking my own picture, and have yet to venture outside into public places. But I have ideas buzzing around in my head! And this week I found something that seems like it might be helpful: a guide to posing the female subject, posted on the Digital Photography School’s blog. (I’ve found a lot of helpful information and inspirational photos over there.)

Maybe posing isn’t a problem for others, but I’ve never done much photographing of people. I’ve been struggling with what to do with myself in front of the camera besides just sitting there feeling awkward. I’m hoping the illustrations in this little guide will inspire some more interesting photos for April and onward.

Here are this month’s photos, more oh-by-the-way captures than intentional self portraits.

little foot, BIG FOOT 2

I already posted this one in color here, but someone suggested using it for {in the picture} and I was desperate enough for images that it seemed like a great idea. Besides, in black & white it’s a new photo, right? (I think I like it better in color, though.) I will let you guess which print is mine.

Diggin' It

No shoes = Happy feet!

Washing Off Winter

Naked feet. At the beach. At the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. In March. In Maine. (See what I mean about the B&W looking cold? Or is it just me?)

Wavy Hair

My only “head shot” this month.

Me and My (iPhone) Shadow

Taken on that outing when I accidentally left my real camera at home. I like this picture, and B&W seems to suit it.

I’m going to post one more here that really is a cheat. I took this photo last month but never processed it. Tonight I tried it out in black and white, and I really like the results. It is certainly true that black & white can conceal many flaws. Would that I always looked this good!

White on White

It’s not too late to join the {in the picture} journey. You can click the button on the right for all the details. See you next month?

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Word Has It

It’s time for the February linkup over at Urban Muser for the {in the picture} self-portrait challenge. This month’s theme, which we could either use or ignore, was “write on,” the idea of incorporating words into our self-portraits.

For some reason I’ve struggled more with my self-portraits this month than last. As several others have mentioned, I’ve felt almost discouraged enough to give it up. It was encouraging to know I’m not alone, and to read Christy’s comment that it took her nearly five months to really get into it her first time around.

I’ve also been inspired by the work of others in the group. Ideas are starting to come, and with spring and warmer weather will come opportunities for trying to shoot some selfies in outdoor settings, which I think will be more fun and interesting.

Here are some of my February shots:

Team Spirit

Showing my Patriot(s)ism on Super Bowl Sunday. It didn’t help the team, unfortunately.

What the Single Woman Wears for Valentine's Day

Actually, I saw this on a post-Valentine’s sales rack, told myself I didn’t need it, and left it there. I kept thinking about it and how it would be perfect for this month’s selfie theme, and went back for it the next day. The second trip to the store probably cost as much in gas as the shirt cost.

The message on the shirt has a double meaning for me. Not only the obvious –about having a healthy self-regard — but ME is the postal abbreviation for the state of Maine, where I live and which I love very much. And which I will be leaving soon. But that’s a subject for another post.

No Words Necessary

I looked at this image multiple times before I suddenly saw the connection between me and my affectionate friend, and the picture on the wall behind. I wish I could say I’d planned this, but it was a total accident. I was just snapping a few pics with my iPhone for fun, and had no idea what I’d captured. Not a flattering or technically great shot . . . but I love it anyway.

Best of Friends

This is my favorite selfie of the month, and probably the most typical “me” that you will ever see. As the saying goes, “So many books, so little time.”

And that’s it for this month. Go on over to Urban Muser to check out what everyone else is doing. And it’s not too late to join in! Yes, it’s challenging, but it really is fun.

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Mirror, Mirror

In Situ

For 2012, I’ve joined a project called {in the picture}. I’ve committed to myself to take/create 52 self-portraits this year, or one a week. There’s a Flickr group where we can share our images, and once a month we’re all invited to share our project in a link up over at Urban Muser. To help us shy ones get comfortable with the concept, this month’s theme is “A Piece of Me.”

Green Earring

Over the years I’ve become more comfortable with being photographed. I know I’m getting older; I’ve never looked like an airbrushed model and never will, so I’m willing to just relax and let the camera catch what it will. I am what I am, and have no control over that shutter-click. Interestingly, the less I cared about how I would look in the photos other people took of me, the better I liked the results. Is this because I lowered my standards? Became less self-critical and more self-accepting? Or maybe because I was more relaxed and therefore more natural? I suspect there may be some of all that at play. Or maybe I really have improved with age!

What, Me Photoshopped?

But I’ve discovered a funny thing about self-portraits. When I am both the photographer and the photographee, suddenly I am self-conscious all over again. I want to look good. Really good. I want to be beautiful. I also want my selfies to be creative and beautifully lighted and spontaneous and fun and . . . in short . . . PERFECT.

Scarface

Oh boy. Guess what? It’s never going to happen. That perfection, I mean. Let’s start with my face. I know intellectually that no one’s face is perfectly symmetrical, but it’s not something I notice about most people. The way people look is just normal, that’s all. But the way I look normal to myself is in the mirror. In a self-portrait, my whole face is wrong. It’s backwards, and suddenly everything about it looks crooked. Things I never noticed before. It’s very disconcerting.

Is this how Mona Lisa felt?

Then there’s the expression. Do I smile at the camera when it’s held at my own arm’s length, or sitting by itself on a tripod? That feels weird. But my face without a smile looks sad. Tired. I try for pensive and look ill. And old. Hm, maybe I can wear a veil, or take all my photos in the mirror with the camera in front of my face.

How about a year of feet photos? I like my feet.

Lambies

I expect this to be a year of change and challenge, of learning and of growth. I hope my self-portraits will reflect that. I’m going to try to relax and enjoy the journey.

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